A century of achievement 1913 - 2013
Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
 
 

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Alex Li

 
Alex Li
Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours in Civil Engineering, 2007
SIte engineer, Rio Tinto

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to experience a number of engineering disciplines in first year.

I chose Civil Engineering because of the well-run introductory lectures and the challenging, hands-on team projects. Its impact on society is clear and direct, and leaves the engineer with a greater sense of satisfaction after each project.

I did a variety of vacation work in a range of locations, including transportation engineering in Perth, high-rise structural engineering and translations in Shanghai, and railway engineering in Dampier. While in Dampier, I was gobsmacked by the world-class projects being planned and constructed at the time and decided to join Rio Tinto’s Expansion Projects division to become part of this action.

In 2008, my first year as a graduate engineer, I relocated to China to assist with the production of structural steel and pre-cast concrete, which were assembled into modules and then transported back to Australia for construction of a wharf at a Rio Tinto port. I followed the project, moving from a metropolis of 20 million to a remote Pilbara town of 200. I provided on-site inspection, supervision and technical support driving piles deep into the ocean floor and installing the wharf modules on top.

In early 2009, I supported rail and earthworks reconstruction efforts in the Pilbara after 100-year flood waters caused severe damage to Rio Tinto’s railway network. Thereafter, I worked as site engineer on the construction of concrete and steel structures for a new mine processing plant in the Pilbara. I am now in the Perth office preparing to embark the next stage of my career development.

My advice is to be flexible, adaptive, and to keep an open mind to experience different aspects of the engineer’s work. We may learn something unexpectedly valuable. A positive can-do attitude will yield invaluable rewards around the corner.